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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vergers Eyes - We Traveled. We Provisioned. We Set-Up our Booth.

On the road to Salt Lake City, Scott Smith stopped to make a picture of a really big rock (he's on the far right of the frame)

By Ken Holloway with Bill Gleason and Barry Norris, field reporters

The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church is underway. Our intrepid VGEC Booth-Assembler/Greeter/Conversationer/Sitter/Stander team made its way along various routes across the USA, meeting in Salt Lake City over the weekend to assemble our (always eye-catching) booth.

But I'm jumping ahead of the story. Let's catch up with Scott Smith, Bill Gleason and Barry Norris, our advance contingent and their travel adventures.

Bill Gleason said, "Scott and I arrived from Denver after a 600-mile, 10-hour drive to Salt Lake City. Scott and I stopped for a break at Arches National Park outside of Moab Utah - what a spectacular natural wonder of this country. In the film at the visitor center, we learned that the park's natural arches are constantly in a state of flux. The last arch to fall was back in 2008.

"Once we arrived in Salt Lake City, I discovered that it is a very interesting city for driving and navigation. The streets are on a grid system with North and South Temple and East and West Temple intersecting in the middle. The Streets are in the 100's North and South and East and West, so that sometimes you will go the intersection of W100 S & S 200 W, as an example. In short, it's maddening to a newcomer. I'm surprised to report that it is actually starting to make some sense now!

"First thing Sunday morning, Barry, Scott and I met at the Exhibition Hall at the Salt Palace Convention Center and put the together the triangular "got vergers?" sign so that it would be ready to hoist to the ceiling after lunch.

"Then we went to the beautiful Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Mark at the 100 East 200 South block of Salt Lake City. We met the the Very Rev. Raymond Joe Waldon, Dean and the vergers on duty, Ron Kastner and David Evans. The Dean invited us to process in following the lead Verger and before the thurifer, crucifer, and torches, and to sit in the chancel. This was the kick-off Holy Eucharist as the cathedral was culminating years of work in preparation for General Convention. This was an exciting time to be there!

"Following the service, we went back to the convention center and were there in time to watch the raising of the sign over the vergers booth #713 in the middle of, and along the main center aisle of the Exhibit Hall. The position of the booth could not be better, being just beyond the main registration area.

Barry Norris supervises the preparation for raising the Got Vergers? overhead banner array

While puttering around all afternoon setting up the placement of floor signs, tables, chairs, giveaway materials, display items, we also got the opportunity to meet with good friends of the Vergers Guild, Stephen, Michael, and Daniel Fendler, and Bill St John from CM Almy, Mark Hoyer from Wippell's, and Trevor Floyd from Trevor Floyd and Company.

"After leaving the Convention Center, Barry and Bill visited the visitors center of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. We went to Temple Square saw the exhibits and displays and buildings of the Temple, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Assembly Building, the local Churches, the Office Building, etc.

"Yesterday, Monday June 22, we thought we'd have a quiet day. But, it became a rather busy and productive day. We visited our local Costco and Target to pick up items needed to sustain our activity for the next 12 days - water, power plugs, sign holders, tape, etc. The next challenge was to pick up the boxes of printed materials sent from Nashville to Salt Lake City to be delivered to St Mark’s Cathedral. The boxes didn't arrive on time so we went to the shipper's facility to find them. Of course, we had to wait, and wait, and wait, but finally, the boxes came to us, and we took the last delivery back to the Convention Center."

Barry's account of the first days: "I arrived in Salt Lake from Philadelphia really late on Saturday night, but at least I'd been upgraded to first class! This is the first time that I have been to a General Convention and I didn’t really know what to expect, but was excited to be here.  One of the vergers from the Cathedral of Saint Mark offered to house Bill and me for the entire 2 weeks - thank you Branden & April!

"Sunday morning, Bill, Scott, and I started set-up of the booth. I was surprised how much there was to do - nothing too difficult, but just a lot of little things. Monday, we finished with the set-up, and had only the final table to be delivered to our booth for tomorrow morning's "Pre-Opening" salute. I’m no fashionista, but I think it looks pretty good."

Flanked by our tall "VGEC Offerings" banners, you can see our booth, tables, chairs and wall hangings to the right in this panoramic shot (this makes the booth look huge, Bill reports that it's not!)

So, after traveling, provisioning, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and setting up, we are finally ready for opening day of General Convention. Tune in tomorrow for the latest from General Convention in "Vergers Eyes..."

Click the big red button to register for the 2015 Annual Conference being held October 1-4, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri:

Abstract:  Our VGEC agents for the General Convention arrived in Salt Lake City, handled the logistics of setting up our booth, attended Eucharist at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint Mark, visited the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, assembled all of our booth materials and settled into "Exhibit Hall Action" mode for the joyful journey toward the closing ceremonies on July 3rd.

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